Pokémon Snap has finally returned to a Nintendo console after quite a long rest, and is back with 213 Pokémon to snap photos of! Check out what Kidzworld thought of the new version of one of the N64s most beloved hits!
Back in the year 1999, there was a little game called Pokémon Snap. Just a year before, Pokémon Red and Blue took the world by storm by creating an easy-to-play RPG that let players collect and battle 151 Pokémon on the original GameBoy. It became a sensation overnight and the rest is history. Pokémon Snap mixed things up on the Nintendo 64 by allowing players to take a break from the constant exploration and battling by just sitting back and snapping photos of 64 of their favorite Pokémon from the first generation. Ever since that first game, fans have been craving another entry. As Pokémon generations passed and more monsters were added to the ever-expanding Pokédex, Pokémon Snap was nowhere to be found year after year in Nintendo’s game announcements. Until now!
Pokémon Snap on the Switch
Never was the Pokémon Snap fever more intense than during the life of the Nintendo Wii U. Fans noticed right away that the Wii U gamepad would be a perfect fit for Pokémon Snap’s simple point and click gameplay, but it would not be until the Switch until that dream would be realized. And it works great! Using the Switch to aim and snap photos feels natural and is even fun with motion controls. It is just like pointing and using a camera, but with Pokémon. The formula of following a preset course, and quickly snapping photos is as simple as it gets, but it grabs you immediately and makes for engaging gameplay every time you restart a run.
Lental Region Researcher
In New Pokémon Snap, you play as a Pokémon researcher in the lush Lental Region. The Lental Region is home to so many Pokémon from across every generation. 213 Pokémon roam the courses waiting to be documented in your Photo-Dex. Unlike the lovable Professor Oak from the first game, in New Pokémon Snap your photos are judged by the younger Professor Mirror. With new high-tech tools like the NEO-ONE at your disposal, as well as your new camera, you have everything you need to become the best Pokémon Researcher Florio Island has ever seen.
A researcher is different from a photographer. In Snap, you are rewarded for snapping photos of your Pokémon subjects that put the Pokémon front and center. You can try to get creative with your shots, definitely, but Professor Mirror wants shots of Pokémon large in the frame and facing toward you for the database. Like real animals, getting ideal photos of Pokémon is harder than it sounds, which is where the challenge comes in. Scanning sends out a ping to show you details you might have missed on the map, as well as alerting the Pokémon so that you can squeeze in a quick photo. Even though the levels play out the same way every time, there is always some new goal or shot to pursue.
A Small Leap Forward
Even though the formula first shown off in the original Snap remains surprisingly engaging in 2021, there are a few areas where New Pokémon Snap feels behind. The Pokémon are the game’s biggest strength, of course. They interact with each other in a believable (and adorable) way, and the challenge of photography stays interesting. But, the general presentation of New Snap feels behind, especially for a full-priced game. It does not matter all that much since you experience most of the game in the first-person view, but the number of options for your character is incredibly limited and might leave some fans feeling left out from embodying their researcher as much as they could have. The presentation and visuals are far from something like Monster Hunter: Rise which pushed the Nintendo Switch to its limit. While not engaging in the research courses, it’s hard to imagine this could not have been a separate mode tacked onto a mainline Pokémon game like Sword and Shield. It might not have been quite as in-depth if it was, but the game falls short of feeling like a worthwhile package.
I had doubts that Pokémon Snap would still be as fun in 2021 as it was when the original game launched in 1999, but I was quickly proven wrong. The colorful cast of Pokémon makes capturing photos a delight and having to be quick on the shutter so you don’t miss a crucial shot keeps things from getting stale. The mixing up of Pokémon to capture, and day and night variants keep the locales from growing old, even if the general visuals are not the greatest the Switch has seen. It does exactly what it sets out to do, be an updated Pokémon Snap game that includes more of the Pokémon that have been introduced in the years since the original, but it does not capture much more beyond a “New” take of an old favorite.
Engaging photography gameplay
New Pokémon Snap Game Rating:
Available Now on Nintendo Switch!